To provide easily accessible legal services to the rural population, Chief Justice of India P.Sathasivam on Friday launched free clinics in 2,648 villages nationwide.
At a function held at the Supreme Court through videoconference, the CJI, who is patron-in-chief of the National Legal Services Authority that executes the programme, said: “The village legal services clinics will be manned by para-legal volunteers selected by the Legal Services Authorities and lawyers… The thrust is on assistance in issues relating to the Below-Poverty-Level cards, electoral identity cards and Aadhaar cards, gas connections and pension.”
The volunteers would also attempt to resolve disputes of the people so that they did not go to courts which were already overloaded with cases. The lawyer assigned to a clinic would offer people help in accessing justice, drafting applications for government schemes and filing police complaints.
Justice R.M. Lodha, Supreme Court judge and Executive Chairman, NALSA, said a large section of the population suffered owing to ignorance and illiteracy, and was not aware of its legal rights. The aim of the legal clinics was to ensure that these people got their legal rights enforced and “no citizen starves of hunger of justice.”
Justice A.K. Patnaik, Chairman of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee, said the clinics would function as single- window facilities for giving the common man all types of services.